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Vexing and Perplexing



ROX Episodes

Title: Vexing and Perplexing
Type: production note
Date: June 30th, 2018

This remains to me one of the most perplexing and downright vexing episodes in the series. As I watch it now, I have to wonder, “What were we thinking?” It's tempting to ascribe this to the passage of years, but in fact my ambivalence goes back much further. I remember that we showed this to an industry guy in the summer of '94, in an effort to impress him with what we considered an example of our “best work.” J and I were both similarly appalled and embarrassed, as we confided to each other after the screening.

It's not all bad. The montage segments are cool. That uncredited soundtrack was an improv jam session using pots and pans from our kitchen, I believe. The rainy scenes of Bloomington are nicely done. I'm not sure what the outdoor living room scenes were supposed to represent, exactly — that was Worm's idea — but they show all four of us roommates interacting for once, and they function as an artsy interstitial element that ties the whole show together.

Then there are a couple extended outtakes from Waco, the Big Lie. This was a short documentary by Linda Thompson of Indianapolis which came out earlier that year (1993). I'm not sure if we saw it first on public access or if a friend came by with a tape, but we felt it deserved wider exposure. Personally I was (and remain) critical of that whole debacle, but in retrospect I'm equally skeptical of Linda Thompson's politics and motives. And it just feels kind of lame to pad out our show with someone else's work.

We were feeling a need to get serious, at least in small doses. As we were abundantly aware, more and more people were watching our show. Random strangers were asking us all kinds of crazy questions, and it seemed people were having trouble distinguishing between reality and television. Certainly, we had encouraged this confusion with our reality-based approach. Now we felt some internal pressure to use our platform (dare I say it?) more responsibly. We felt compelled to let our viewers know that, no, we were not getting drunk constantly, despite our “glorification of alcohol” routine on camera.

Yet it's hard to characterize “The Buttcrack Song” as serious by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, it's one of the silliest sequences we ever committed to video — and one of the most embarrassing. Please, let's just all forget this ever happened.

Technical note: the egregious overexposure throughout this episode is not intentional. It's an artifact of our own technical incompetence in the original production, amplified by the transfer process when this episode was digitized from the master in the CATS archive.

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